TUJA Jazz Festival (Tudengijazz) is the oldest jazz festival in Estonia.
Established in 1982, the festival will take place for the 39th time from 2 until 6 March 2021.
In its long tradition, the festival’s focus on student jazz musicians has been unique in Europe. The aim of the festival has always been to offer young musicians the opportunity to perform and present to the audience their original creations as well as exciting compositions and arrangements. Today, TUJA/Tudengijazz brings together young talents from Estonia and elsewhere in Europe not only in performing but also in furthering international cooperation and making new contacts.
Historically, TUJA has had a great significance in Estonia: the festival first took place during the Soviet time, when playing jazz music was publicly forbidden. Relentless music students did their best to make their dream festival happen. The mini-festival held almost forty years ago was an important source of direction and inspiration at that time, and we are very happy to see that the festival fulfils its purpose to this day.
Over the years, almost all top jazz musicians of today and many young up-and-coming jazz groups have performed at TUJA, including Jaak Sooäär, Tanel Ruben, Oleg Pissarenko, Villu Veski, Kadri Voorand, Raul Sööt, Raivo Tafenau, Virgo Sillamaa, Siim Aimla, Sofia Rubina, Joel Remmel, Laura Põldvere, Abraham’s Cafe, Janno Trump, Innersound, Jana Kütt Group, Johannes Laas Quintet, Linda Kanter Quartet, Rita Ray and others. The organising team has always been led by the most successful Estonian musicians and event planners, including Anne Erm, Villu Veski, Eero Raun, Reigo Ahven and Kristjan Mazurtchak.
Since 2011, the official organiser of TUJA is Jazz Estonia. The goal of Jazz Estonia is to develop and promote Estonian jazz music both locally and internationally. Jazz Estonia organises concerts and thematic events, collects and shares information about Estonian jazz music and musicians, promotes cooperation between musicians and different organisations, and seeks funding for the development of jazz music. Established in 2004, Jazz Estonia has been a member of the European Jazz Network since 2006.
In 2020, the Estonian Jazz Awards were given to outstanding jazz musicians, events and festivals in Estonia already for the 14th time. Awards are given out in five categories: Jazz Musician of the Year, Young Jazz Talent, Jazz Ensemble of the Year, Jazz Composer of the Year and Jazz Promoter of the Year. In 2020 the last-mentioned title was awarded to TUJA Jazz Festival.
The mission of the festival is to keep alive its long-term tradition to support the high-level development of Estonian jazz, the new generation of young musicians and international cooperation within the field.